Liberty County’s third- through eighth-graders this week will take the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests.
Because the state moved to Common Core State Standards, test-takers will see differences in the questions in reading, language arts and math, according to district testing coordinator Susan Norce.
It’s important for parents to discuss the test with their children and to present the topic in a positive manner, she added.
“They should let them know that it’s an important assessment, but they’ve worked hard all year, so they will be prepared,” Norce said.
“The test questions in reading, language arts and math will be more of an application question as opposed to a basic knowledge question, which is what the students have been working on all year,” she added.
The Common Core relies on a four-part, depth of knowledge concept, where students are encouraged to delve into concepts.
For example, level one might ask who “sailed the ocean blue in 1492.”
A level-two question might ask why Christopher Columbus sailed in 1492. Traditionally, CRCT questions have been geared toward levels one and two.
This year, more questions from levels three and four will be used.
“Level three might be what situations, pulling in some other factors, what led Christopher Columbus to want to sail the ocean blue in 1492,” Norce said. “And then a level four is more taking that knowledge and putting it to a completely new situation: If you were to set out and sail and discover a new world, how would you?”
There also may be more multiple part questions or more several-step math problems. With reading, more text comparisons are likely to be called upon.
The state provides districts about a month to schedule the tests, which usually take nine days to administer. The CRCT-Modified for students with special needs has components administered before the general testing week.
Norce said parents play a role in the testing.
“It’s very important that their children get a good nights’ sleep, and they need to make sure that if their children are not eating breakfast at school, that they have breakfast at home,” she said.
It’s also critical that students get to school on time. That’s when the tests begin. Tardy students must wait in an area such as the media center and will have to make up the missed component on the following day.
Tests will be administered during the morning. One content area will be tested each day, Norce said. The tests cover reading, English language arts, mathematics, science and social studies.
Scores are not guaranteed to be available before the school year ends, Norce said. However, students who need remediation will be notified in time to make arrangements for summer classes.
Remediation and re-testing are available to third-, fifth- and eighth-graders.